Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Which Health Care Plan?

The major Democratic presidential candidates are all say they would make sure all Americans have health care. But a meeting in Philadelphia featuring Representative John Conyers, revealed major and crucial differences in the various health care plans being touted, so “buyer beware”!

The only health care plan worth having is the single payer variety, which exists in all other developed countries: you see the doctor of your choice, the government pays.

Alas, the plans being touted by various mayors, governor, and presidential candidates are all variations on the same theme: insurance companies continue in one way or another, to be the major players.

John Ksoe, a noted expert on the question, pointed out that as of recently, not only consumers, but also major corporations, realize it is in their best interest to have universal health care.  As the third leg of the stool, however, government has failed to act.  Why is that, Ksoe wonders.  Another speaker provides poll results showing that a majority of Americans would like to see a single payer system, but few believe it will happen.

I have my own idea about why people suspect it is not likely to happen, and why government, and reform-minded candidates are dragging their feet.

The problem is that government funded health care smacks of socialism: socialized medicine is a dirty word.  Politicians are afraid of not being reelected, and industry sees a slippery slope.  Ford and company prefer to lay off workers rather than push for single payer health care, which would save them from the expense and allow them to keep more workers on the payroll.

If Americans want to catch up to the rest of the developing world, they have got to educate themselves to the fact that a) health care is a right not a luxury and b) given that it is a right, it is up to the government to protect it.

If you look up “single payer health care” on Google, you’ll get an idea of how fuzzy the presidential candidates are on the issue.  It looks like the only serious proposal is the one by John Conyers in the House, HR 676.   Make sure your representatives support it,  But also, become familiar with its terms so you can push presidential candidates in that direction.

Voters need to pressure presidential candidates to “go all the way” and declare for single payer health care instead of trying to placate the insurance and pharmaceutical industries: many doctors would be in favor of it.  And they need to support House Bill 676, and Senate Bill 300, by calling their elected representatives, writing to their local newspaper and doing all the good things an activist polity can do to get its way.

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